Thud…silence…thud….I heard them land right beside me before I sidestepped to avoid being hit. I performed maneuvers that might have earned me a spot on “Dancing with the Stars,” if I were a celebrity. When I was a teenager, those darn mangoes falling from the trees were my nemesis. My uncle had planted several trees in the yard, and they were wonderful at bearing fruit, producing loads of mangoes for us to eat each year. At sixteen years old, I rarely appreciated the gift of eating mangoes straight off the tree. The rather gloomy weather we have been having of late in the DC area has had me reminiscing about growing up in South Florida.  Today, I made a run to an office supply store for my job, and realized the sun was finally shining. I thought about how I used to wake up stretching, and slowly breathe in the still warm air drifting through the open windows. How I miss the innocence of a time, when we left our windows open all night, and our days seemed to stretch on infinitely.

Back then, I only concerned myself with choosing the right color shorts to pull on for the day, gave my hair an obligatory swipe of the brush, before I quickly worked my long tresses into braid or ponytail. I slipped my feet into flip flops and was off for the day, on a long bike ride, trip to the beach. I would squint my eyes in the glaring sun, to see the waves roll in, and the younger children building sand castles. Life stretched from one glorious day in the sun, to another, and most it was viewed from my beach towel or raft, as I baked to a golden brown. Of course, it wasn’t always a vacation, some days consisted of mundane chores, the challenges of school work, or an argument with a sibling, but hey, it was my daydream so I didn’t have to remember those things.

Nowadays, I find that I often roll my window down as I pass over the Woodrow Wilson Bridge, on my way to and from work, even when it is foggy, dark, and cold out. I’m sure I am not the only one who keeps the window with the heater on, just so I can feel the fresh air. And, I know I should be excited at the prospect of a cold Christmas, even I though I’m not sure if the weather conditions will be ripe enough to produce an image similar to Thomas Kinkade’s famous paintings. But, I find the colder it gets, the more I surprisingly find myself wishing for a Christmas with palm trees. I saw an “old Florida” postcard on Facebook yesterday; it had a picture of Santa in his bathing suit floating in an inner tube at the beach. This seems just dandy to me right about now. I’m beginning to feel a little like Scrooge though, with thoughts of vacationing in my sun-bleached thatched hut, and in fact, have the differences in seasons here in DC. My dogs are anxiously waiting to see if their stockings will be filled with biscuits, and squeaky toys, and my daughter keeps telling me I need to finish my holiday preparations, but I think I’ll take just one more day of imagining sipping my Piña Colada (alcohol free of course), and listening to the waves roll in, before I hit my online shopping spree. Life sure has changed!

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